Frozen: A Film Full of Warmth (2013)

Disney’s Frozen (2013) is a one of a kind magical experience for the whole family.  A wonderful mix of humor, romance, and adventure, this movie is sure to bring something for everyone.  A very loose retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” (my personal favorite fairytale), the movie tells the story of two sisters, princesses of Arendelle Anna and Elsa, who lose their parents at a young age.  Elsa has magical powers that allow her to freeze anything she touches, make snow, etc.  Basically she can make winter.  Warned by her parents at a young age to conceal her powers, she isolates herself from the world.  On her coronation day, however, she must greet her people and interact with the sister she has shut out for years.  When Anna announces she’s ready to marry Prince Hans, a man she’s just met, Elsa forbids it and the sisters argue, ending in a display of Elsa’s powers that shocks and frightens the people of Arendelle.  Afraid of herself and the reactions of the people around her, Elsa flees to the mountains and in the process creates an endless winter.  To stop her, Anna sets out after her, leaving Hans in charge of Arendelle until she returns.  In the process she befriends Kristoff and his adorable reindeer Sven, as well as Olaf the snowman, and amazing comic relief.  Together they must calm down Elsa and end the perpetual winter that has fallen on the country.

With a soundtrack that will you bring you back to the Alan Menken days of Disney, as well as lovable characters and a strong sense of girl power, this movie proves that the Mouse House is moving in the right direction under the helm of John Lasseter.  Although this is technically a Disney princess film, it harkens more to Mulan, Tangled, or Brave and less to Cinderella.  The heroines are not sappy damsels in distress, they are just as brave, strong, and courageous as the men.  Although in the traditional story, the Snow Queen is the baddie, in this the villain changes shapes a few times.  There is fabulous comic relief in the form of Olaf and Sven.  And for once there is a strong sisterly bond in the movie–a new move for Disney, and one that is much appreciated.  The best part of the film, though, hands down is the music.  Idina Menzel voices Elsa, and the songs managed to squeeze in a double dose of heart and sass, with enough humor for a hearty laugh.  For an example, check out Olaf’s “In Summer”.  Some other toe-tapping tunes include “Let It Go”, and the adorable “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”.

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OMFG Moment of the Week

JUSTIN BIEBER IS RETIRING!!!!  Or so he says….

In a recent interview with a Los Angeles radio host, Justin Bieber dropped the bombshell that he is quitting music.  Earlier this week, on Christmas Eve, he reiterated the sentiment in a series of tweets, saying that he’s “officially retiring”.  I’m sure there are millions of Beliebers crying underneath their Christmas trees, but I for one think this is the best Christmas present he could give the world!  The question remains whether or not his retirement is legit.  He could be pulling our legs, like he has done with other pranks before.

Here’s to hoping he’s telling the truth.  I will admit that he’s got some catchy songs out there, and I know more than a few lyrics.  But Usher’s little prodigy has turned into a world class d-bag.  So good riddance  Bye bye, Bieber.  Deuces.

The Grey: Liam Neeson vs. The Wolves from Twilight

The Grey (2011) starring Liam Neeson is a survival thriller that takes place in the Alaskan Wild.  It’s like Into the Wild with rabid, monstrously oversized wolves.  The film follows the story of six oil riggers who survive a deadly plane crash in middle of nowhere, Alaska.  They have to battle hunger, debilitating coldness, and oh yeah HUGE man-eating wolves.  Neeson’s Ottway becomes the defacto leader of the group, since back at camp his job was to kill the wolves before they got to the workers.  Outrageous fantasy aside (no, dear reader, there are no wolves that behave like this in reality), the movie isn’t half bad.  Liam Neeson shows some grit, as always, and as the wolves pick the pack of men off one by one we get some killer action scenes.  But there’s a lot of fleshing out that just isn’t done, and should have been, since the movie is just shy of 2 hours long.  We know very little, if anything, about most of the six guys.  We get glimpses of Ottway’s past, but they aren’t really important and don’t amount to much. Essentially, the film is all about the action, but beyond that it just isn’t very colorful (aren’t I punny).

Happy Christmas Everyone!

I forgot to put up yesterday’s countdown, BUT today is technically the first day of Christmas, so it still works!

Elf (2003), starring Will Ferrell at his very best, is my all-time favorite Christmas movie.  A new film that is destined to become a classic with the likes of White Christmas  and It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf is pure magic.  It is a combination of The Santa Clause and Rudolph with Ferrell at the hilarious helm.  The film tells the story of Buddy the Elf, a human raised by elves after he sneaked into Santa’s sack at the orphanage when he was a baby.  His elf father, played to perfection by Bob Newhart, breaks the news that he’s human and that his birth father, James Caan, lives in a magical place called New York City.  The downside?  He’s on the naughty list!  Regardless, Buddy travels to NYC to meet his real dad and live with his own kind, to hilarious effect.  Human customs are strange to him and on his first day in the city he gets attacked by a raccoon, spins around in a revolving door, gets hit by a car, eats the gum left underneath the subway railing, and experiences an escalator for the first time, among other things.  After being escorted off the premises by security when he introduces himself to his father, he is mistaken for a toy elf at Grimbles, where he then begins to work.  He befriends Jovie, played by Zooey Deschanel, and enters the life of his father and his family.  Things are bumpy and hysterical as Buddy tries to find his way, but he really comes into his own when he’s called upon to save Christmas.  This is the rare Will Ferrell film that’s fun for the WHOLE family.

Merry Christmas Eve’s Eve!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG7x8HWbDzU

I don’t know about you, but I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.  I know the Midwest won’t be getting one, though, so I’m going to watch Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye do their thing in 1954’s holiday classic White Christmas instead.  It’s almost as good, right?

The film is about two friends who, after the end of WWII, team up to form a successful song and dance duo.  They meet a beautiful sister act and follow them to an inn in Vermont, which turns out to be run by their former commander, General Waverly. The gang join forces to put on an amazing show to help the General and his lodge at Christmastime, since without snow, no one wants to visit!  Let the antics and romantic mix-ups ensue!

3 Days of Christmas

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), is probably one of the most well-known and beloved Christmas movies of all time.  Who doesn’t know the song, at the very least?  A classic stop motion film in the same vein as Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, among others, Rudolph is a step above the rest.  The movie, in case you live under a rock, is about Rudolph, a freak reindeer with a glowing red nose.  He’s picked on by all of the other reindeer at the North Pole, and even Santa himself ridicules his brilliant honker.  Upset and feeling like the textbook disappointment, he and fellow outcasts Hermey, the elf who dreams of being a dentist instead of making toys, and Yukon Cornelius strike out on their own.  They face a run-in with the Abominable Snowman and make it to the Island of Misfit Toys.  The gang promises to get Santa to deliver the toys to children on Christmas, but when Rudolph gets back to the North Pole to confront Santa, he realizes a terrible storm is preventing Santa from delivering any toys that year.  That is, until Santa sees Rudolph and gets a “bright” idea….

This story is a timeless underdog one, but I must admit I’m not sure how I feel about Santa being a douche at the onset of the film.  Isn’t he supposed to be children’s hero?  I mean seriously, what’s that teaching them?!  But otherwise, I love it.  It’s short and sweet and a completely necessary part of every Christmas.

Only 4 Days Until Christmas!

The Santa Clause (1994) starring Tim Allen as the man in the red suit, is a family Christmas classic.  Of course Allen is hilarious as always, but he also manages to be warm hearted and a right jolly old elf…eventually.  The movie tells the story of Scott Calvin, a divorced dad who desperately wants his son to continue believing in Santa Clause.  When Santa falls to his death off of his roof, however, he gets more than he bargained for by becoming the next Mr. Clause, much to his young son’s delight and his own utter disbelief.  The film is about the magic of Christmas, and the power of belief.  Also, check out David Krumholtz pre-Numbers as Bernard the Head Elf.  Hilarious.  And strangely attractive….Am I the only one who thinks so?